Payday loan executive comments further

On September 26, in a taped interview with Public Eye, The Cash Store Financial Services Inc. executive Michael Thompson said his company hired provincial Liberal backroom boy Patrick Kinsella in the "spring of 2007." As part of that contract, Mr. Thompson said he believed Mr. Kinsella "helped to setup one meeting between ourselves" and then solicitor general John Les's office. In fact, speaking with The Globe and Mail's Justine Hunter yesterday, Mr. Thompson said, "Patrick set up a meeting for us with the minister's office. (Mr. Kinsella) did not attend that meeting." So is that lobbying, Ms. Hunter wondered? "The more accurate description of the service he provided was to arrange a meeting for us...He may have provided (Mr. Les) with some information about our company in advance of that."

But, six days earlier, Mr. Thompson told Public Eye Mr. Kinsella's work for the company involved "bringing (Mr. Les) up to speed on what our position was with respect to the regulation of payday loans in the province of British Columbia." And, when asked if that was lobbying work, Mr. Thompson said, "Correct."

Under the Lobbyists Registration Act, consultant lobbyists are required to sign-up if they, for pay, communicate with a public office holder in an attempt to influence government - although there are some exceptions to that rule. But consultants must always register if they, for pay, arrange a meeting with an office holder and another "person."

Mr. Kinsella has never registered as a lobbyist. In the past, he has repeatedly denied ever lobbying the government he was instrumental in electing. And, according to a written statement issued by his company, The Progressive Group registers "each and every time" it communicates with an office holder on behalf of its clients. Mr. Kinsella hasn't returned repeated requests for comment.

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